Salisbury Labs, 121
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PhD New York University 1988
MS City University of New York 1982
BS St. Francis College 1979

Dr. Jean King is an active neuroscientist and Peterson Family Dean of Arts & Sciences at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Previously Dr. King was the Vice Provost of Biomedical Research and Professor of Psychiatry, Radiology, and Neurology (with tenure) at UMass Medical School, where she had been a faculty member since 1994.  Together with other administrative leaders at WPI, Dean King has launched new undergraduate and graduate programs in Learning Science, Neuroscience, Interactive Media and Game Development, and AI and has expanded undergraduate research opportunities.  

Dr. King’s research is broadly focused on the adverse effects of stress on the brain, body, and behavior, with current projects on chronic pain and youth and young adult mental health. Jean has been the recipient of continuous extramural funding from NIH for over two decades. She has published over 100 original scientific papers in highly respected international scientific journals, over 10 book chapters and review articles in major neurophysiology journals and is an editor of New York Academy of Sciences Publication-Roots of Mental Illness in Children. A major current research project is centered on the use of AI to predict the response to mindfulness for chronic pain, supported by a five-year NIH grant through the HEAL (Helping to End Addition Long-term) initiative.

In 2017, Dr. King was recognized by GK50 as one of Boston’s 50 Most Influential People of Color in Healthcare and Life Sciences. She holds significant leadership roles in the nonprofit scientific and academic communities, at the local, national and international levels, including serving on the executive advisory boards at the National Institutes of Health, Quinsigamond Community College and UMass Memorial Health Care/Chan Medical School in Worcester, MA, as the Co-chair of World Women in Neuroscience, and Co-Director of the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Survival (Marine Biological Lab-MBL).  


Jean is also a passionate advocate for diversity in STEM and mentor of young scientists, above and beyond the many direct trainees she has supported, and this work has been featured in Nature ( Her mentoring success has been recognized with several awards including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts State Senate Official Citation in recognition of her work as a passionate and invaluable mentor for women of all ages; the Katherine Erskine Award for Medicine and Science; the Outstanding Mentor Award from the Department of Psychiatry (UMASS Medical School) as University of Massachusetts System; and the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine  Award, which afforded the opportunity to develop and refine a comprehensive micro-communities model of mentorship to support early faculty development.


Spectrum News 1
WPI-led trial to study mindfulness treatment for pain

Jean King, Peterson Family Dean of Arts and Sciences, talked with Spectrum News 1 about a WPI-led, National Institutes of Health-funded study of how artificial intelligence can fine-tune the effectiveness of mindfulness on chronic pain.